Ethos Education

The Monuments Men: Testing Friendship

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Assembly Objective: 

  • What would a real friend do? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching about restoring friendships.

Film: 

  • The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education: 

  • The value of Individual Liberty affirms each person’s right to self-determination, but the values of Democracy, Respect and Tolerance call us to live as part of a community. This assembly encourages pupils to explore friendship and to consider how broken friendships can be restored.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Best of Friends (something to think about)

Download the Best of Friends PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

  • Play the Best of Friends PowerPoint. Once started, the slides will automatically move through the presentation without further action from you. To speed up the presentation (which should take four minutes and fifteen seconds on the automatic setting), simply click the mouse to change slides manually. Play a suitable accompanying soundtrack with the presentation. We suggest I’ll Stand By You, by either The Pretenders or by Girls Aloud. Available on the albums The Pretenders Greatest Hits (Rhino, 2000) or Ten by Girls Aloud (Polydor, 2010).
  • Here is the text of the PowerPoint:
    • In 1965, after injury cut short his playing career, Brian Clough became manager of Hartlepool’s United Football Club. He appointed his former team-mate Peter Taylor as his assistant.
    • Offering Taylor the job, Clough reportedly said, ‘I’ve been offered the managership of Hartlepool and I don’t fancy it, but if you’ll come I’ll consider it.’
    • It was a genuine partnership. Clough proved to be an inspirational motivator, Taylor an exceptional judge of talent who took the lead in identifying new signings.
    • In 1967, the pair moved to second division Derby County. Three years later they were the champions of England. Three years after that they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup.
    • Their friendship was strained at Derby when Taylor found out that Clough had accepted a pay rise without telling him about it.
    • The partnership was split up when Taylor decided not to leave Brighton and Hove Albion to follow Clough to Leeds United.
    • After Clough lasted just 44 days at Leeds, he was reunited with Taylor at Nottingham Forest. They won promotion, then won the First Division in 1978, becoming only the second newly-promoted team to win the title at the first attempt.
    • Clough and Taylor then won the European Cup in 1979. And 1980.
    • They fell out again after Taylor failed to consult Clough before publishing his own autobiography, With Clough, by Taylor.
    • The final straw in their friendship came when Taylor, now manager of Derby County, signed John Robertson from Nottingham Forest without speaking to Clough about it.
    • At the time, Clough commented, ‘We pass each other on the A52 going to work on most days of the week, but if his car broke down and I saw him thumbing a lift, I wouldn’t pick him up. I’d run him over.’
    • Peter Taylor died in 1990, before the pair had been able to repair their broken friendship.
    • Brian Clough dedicated his autobiography to Taylor in 1994. The inscription read: ‘To Peter. Still miss you badly. You once said: “When you get shot of me there won’t be as much laughter in your life.” You were right.’
    • When Clough was awarded the freedom of the City of Nottingham in 1993, he said, ‘My only regret is that my mate is not with me.’

What would a real friend do? (quiz)

Download the Friendship Good Friend PowerPoint for use with this activity.

Go through the questions on the PowerPoint and ask the students to vote in each case for what they think a real friend would do.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • You have lost your bus fare home, and your friend has only got enough money for one fare. What would a real friend do?
    • [click] Wave at you from the bus as you begin your long, cold, walk home.
    • [click]  Let the bus go and walk home with you.
    • [click]  Give you the money so that you can catch the bus and they can have the long walk home.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • You and your best friend both fancy the same person. What would a real friend do?
    • [click]  Both try your luck and see who wins.
    • [click]  Put friendship ahead of romance, and agree that neither of you will take it further.
    • [click]  Back off and give you a clear run at winning his or her heart.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Your friend has been picked ahead of you in a school sports team, but you are the first reserve. What would a real friend do?
    • [click]  Try not to mention the team when you are around, so as not to upset you.
    • [click]  Try to injure one of the other members of team during training, so that you can take their place.
    • [click]  Fake an injury and drop out of the team, so that you can play instead of them.
  • After asking the questions, particularly if the majority of students consistently voted for the more extreme acts of friendship, ask a rhetorical question: how different would the answers have been if you had asked what they would do for their friends, rather than what they would hope a real friend would do for them? Explain that in today’s assembly, you are going to be thinking more about friendship.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12).
    • Start time:       1.24.12 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
    • End time:         1.27.18
    • Clip length:      3 minutes and 6 seconds
  • The clip starts with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) asking ‘What have you got?’ It ends with Richard Campbell (Bill Murray) saying, ‘Told you it was a dud.’
  • The clip shows James Granger (Matt Damon) revealing that he has stepped on a landmine. His friends attempt to rescue him by constructing a counterweight to allow him to step off the landmine without detonating it. They also insist on remaining with him while he steps off, rather than retreating to a safe distance. Please note that this clip includes a few uses of ‘hell’ and ‘damn’ as expletives. If this is not suitable for your students, you might prefer not to use this clip.

TALK

Download the Friendship Monuments Men PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What would you do if a friend was in a tight spot? It’s easy to just say that we would be there for them, but sometimes friendship can be costly. How willing are we to put ourselves out there for our friends? Here’s a film clip that illustrates the cost that friendship sometimes carries.
    • Play the clip from The Monuments Men:
      • Start time:       1.24.12 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
      • End time:         1.27.18
      • Clip length:      3 minutes and 6 seconds
    • The clip starts with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) asking ‘What have you got?’ It ends with Richard Campbell (Bill Murray) saying, ‘Told you it was a dud.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘In the film The Monuments Men, one of the characters, played by Matt Damon, accidentally stands on a landmine. His colleagues, two of whom are architects, build a complex counterweight so that – if everything works – he can safely step off the mine without detonating it. They also insist on staying with Matt Damon while he moves his foot, rather than backing off to a safer distance.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • That’s friendship. I’m sure the last place any of the others wanted to be was next to an unexploded bomb, but they weren’t willing to let their friend suffer alone as he sweated on whether or not their counterweight had succeeded in saving his life.
    • Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus’ friends let him down as he faced death. Most of them ran away, with only John listed in the Bible as joining Jesus’ mother to witness his crucifixion. Famously, Jesus had predicted that Peter would disown him three times before he died. It happened, just as Jesus had said, and Peter was devastated when he realised that he had failed his friend.
    • But that’s not the end of the story between Jesus and Peter. This passage comes after Jesus’ had been raised from the dead. Peter and some of the other disciples have gone back to their old way of life, as fishermen. Jesus turns up and by following his advice, they get a huge catch of fish. When they come ashore, Jesus cooks some breakfast for them. This is the conversation Jesus has with Peter, their first since Jesus correctly predicted that Peter would disown him.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter replied, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then feed my lambs,’ Jesus told him.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Jesus repeated the question: ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
    • Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’
    • Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.’ Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, ‘Follow me.’ John 21:15-19, New Living Translation.
    • That repeated question, ‘do you love me?’ might seem a bit needy, or as if Jesus was being mean to Peter, but he was giving him the chance to put right what he’d done wrong – three assertions of friendship to counterbalance three denials. And notice as well that Jesus gives Peter something to do: to take care of Jesus’ followers, and to follow Jesus himself.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • There are two important things Jesus does here. [click] First, he mends his relationship with Peter, establishing that they were still friends. He doesn’t just ignore Peter’s failure, but he doesn’t allow it to come between them. [click] Secondly, he restores Peter’s purpose, showing that Peter still has a place in the work of Jesus.
    • Peter may have failed Jesus in the past, but Jesus showed Peter that he still trusted him for the future. Peter went on to do just what Jesus asked of him – leading the early church, helping people to believe in Jesus and building them up in their faith. Peter fed Jesus’ lambs, and risked his life many times to do so. Eventually, Peter died for Jesus, faithful to the last.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • I don’t know how good your friends are, how reliable they are when you need them. I don’t know how good a friend you have been to them. The chances are that all of us have failed our friends at one time or another. Think about what it means to you when your friends come through when you need them, and think about what it would take for you to become that kind of a friend yourself. We can’t control how good our friends are – although we can try to choose our friends wisely – [click] but we are the only people who can decide how good a friend we are going to be. What are you going to do about that today?

Headings and Bullets

Download the Friendship Monuments Men PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What would you do if a friend was in a tight spot?
      • Easy to say we’d be there for them, but would we?
      • Sometimes friendship can be costly.
      • Here’s a film clip to illustrate the cost of friendship.
    • Play the clip from The Monuments Men:
      • Start time:       1.24.12 (in chapter 14 of the DVD)
      • End time:         1.27.18
      • Clip length:      3 minutes and 6 seconds
    • The clip starts with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) asking ‘What have you got?’ It ends with Richard Campbell (Bill Murray) saying, ‘Told you it was a dud.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • That’s friendship.
      • No one wants to be next to an unexploded bomb.
      • They wouldn’t let their friend suffer alone.
    • Bible tells us Jesus was let down by his friends.
      • Most of them ran away when he was being crucified.
      • Jesus predicted that Peter would disown him three times.
      • It happened just like that and Peter was devastated to have failed his friend.
    • That’s not the end of the story:
      • This passage comes after Jesus has been raised from the dead.
      • Jesus has made breakfast for Peter and the others.
      • This is their conversation.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter replied, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then feed my lambs,’ Jesus told him.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Jesus repeated the question: ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • ‘I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.’ Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, ‘Follow me.’ John 21:15-19, New Living Translation.
    • The repeated ‘do you love me?’ might seem needy, or mean, but it was important.
    • Jesus gave Peter the chance to put right what he had done: three assertions of friendship to counterbalance three denials.
    • Jesus also gives Peter something to do.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Jesus does two important things:
      • [click] He mends the relationship, showing that they are still friends.
      • [click] He restores Peter’s purpose, showing that Peter still has a place in Jesus’ work.
      • Despite past failures, Jesus shows Peter he trusts him for the future.
    • Peter went on to do what Jesus asked.
      • He led the early church and built people up in their faith.
      • He risked his life many times.
      • Eventually he died for Jesus, faithful to the last.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • I don’t know how reliable your friends are or how good you are to them.
      • All of us fail as friends sometime or other.
      • Think about what it means to you when your friends come through for you.
      • What would it take for you to be that kind of friend yourself?
      • We can’t control how good our friends are.
      • [click] But we can decide how good a friend we are going to be.
      • What are you going to do about that today?

Photo Copyright for Best of Friends PowerPoint: Slide 1, 4 and 6 Russ Hamer / Slide 2 Museum of Hartlepool / Slide 3 Richard Croft / Slide 5 Awuachumele / Slide 7 iStockphoto.com / Slide 8 Nationaal Archief

Photo Copyright for Friendship Monuments Men PowerPoint: Slide 1 and 8 Claudette Barius, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 2 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 7 iStockphoto.com


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for good friends, and for the gift of friendship. Thank you that when your friends failed you, you were willing to restore the friendship and give them the chance to do better. Help us to be good friends to one another, to forgive failure and to be the kind of friends that we would like to have. Amen.

Reflection

  • How does it feel when a friend comes through for you when you need them? How does it feel when they let you down? Which of those feelings do you think that your friends associate mostly with you? What can you do today to be a better friend to the people around you?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Best of Friends PowerPoint (and suitable accompanying soundtrack).
  3. Friendship Good Friend PowerPoint.
  4. Friendship Monuments Men PowerPoint.

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